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Tractable Falsifiability

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  • Ronen Gradwohl
  • Eran Shmaya

Abstract

We propose to strengthen Popper's notion of falsifiability by adding the requirement that when an observation is inconsistent with a theory, there must be a "short proof" of this inconsistency. We model the concept of a short proof using tools from computational complexity, and provide some examples of economic theories that are falsifiable in the usual sense but not with this additional requirement. We consider several variants of the de nition of "short proof" and several assumptions about the difficulty of computation, and study their different implications on the falsifiability of theories. JEL Classification: B400

Suggested Citation

  • Ronen Gradwohl & Eran Shmaya, 2013. "Tractable Falsifiability," Discussion Papers 1564, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1564
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    File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1564.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas DEMUYNCK, 2010. "The computational complexity of boundedly rational choice behavior," Working Papers Department of Economics ces10.23, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Chambers,Christopher P. & Echenique,Federico, 2016. "Revealed Preference Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9781107087804, Fall.
    3. Thomas Demuynck, 2014. "The computational complexity of rationalizing Pareto optimal choice behavior," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 42(3), pages 529-549, March.
    4. Gil Kalai & Ariel Rubinstein & Ran Spiegler, 2002. "Rationalizing Choice Functions By Multiple Rationales," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2481-2488, November.
    5. Christopher P. Chambers & Federico Echenique & Eran Shmaya, 2014. "The Axiomatic Structure of Empirical Content," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(8), pages 2303-2319, August.
    6. Apesteguia, Jose & Ballester, Miguel A., 2010. "The Computational Complexity of Rationalizing Behavior," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 356-363, May.
    7. Lance Fortnow & Rakesh V. Vohra, 2009. "The Complexity of Forecast Testing," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(1), pages 93-105, January.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Raising the bar of falsifiability in Economics
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-06-28 19:20:00

    More about this item

    Keywords

    falsifiability; complexity; empirical content; rationalization;

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